Lewis Hamilton’s confidence should be at a season high seeing how the British racer claimed his eighth British Grand Prix victory at the latest event of a gripping 2021 F1 season. Another track which Hamilton also has 8 wins at is the Hungaroring and as luck would have it, that is the circuit up next as the Hungarian Grand Prix is this coming Sunday. Nevertheless, Hamilton is still wary of Red Bull Racing and has again shared his comments regarding the changes in downforce. Hamilton believes the key to Red Bull Racing’s success is as a result of them losing less downforce compared to Mercedes following the implementation of the new floor regulations for 2021.
Lewis Hamilton clawed his way back into the F1 Drivers’ Championship title fight at the British Grand Prix on a weekend which followed comments from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team boss Toto Wolff that Hamilton was only a DNF away from catching Max Verstappen. Such an outcome came to pass in Silverstone as the widely known incident at Copse Corner between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix resulted in a DNF for the Dutchman. As a result of this, the seven-time F1 Drivers’ Champion, Lewis Hamilton, is now a mere 8 points away from his closest rival Verstappen. However, the reigning champion is ready for the charge of a resurgent Red Bull and consequently feels that the Milton Keynes racing outfit will be very strong at the Hungaroring due to their downforce package.
In comments published through racingnews365.com, Lewis Hamilton reflected on the progress his team has made but showed he is wary of what is to come:
"I think Silverstone was a step forward for us…I think that track [Hungary] is often very good for the Red Bulls. They maybe have a little bit more downforce than us this year.
The reason Lewis Hamilton has this belief is due to the fact the current champion believes the high-rake concept of Red Bull Racing’s RB16B will perform better than Mercedes’ W12 following the changes made by Formula One concerning restrictions to the rear floor of the car.
"They [Red Bull Racing] definitely lost less downforce from what we understand with the new regulations to the floor. So I anticipate they will be very, very strong there and be hard to beat.
"It's not a track where you can really overtake unless you have offset strategy. But I hope that it remains close as it was in Silverstone. I think Silverstone was more reminiscent of the first four races, so fingers crossed that continues."
Lewis Hamilton had to win in Silverstone and he did so. The ‘boy from Stevenage’ was enduring a 5-race winless streak and was no doubt frustrated at being stuck on ’98 F1 Grand Prix victories’. Now, a 'Century of race victories' in the pinnacle of motorsport is looming but it will be far from straightforward.
One of the trophies held aloft by Lewis Hamilton on race day in Silverstone paid tribute to the much-missed giant of the sport - Murray Walker. "Anything can happen in Formula One, and it usually does" was a phrase synonymous with this legendary F1 commentator. Confidence must be high for Lewis Hamilton following his British Grand Prix victory and emotions are surely running high for Max Verstappen as he looks to bounce back. Hamilton reflected on the unpredictability of the 2021 F1 season to date.
"It's been such a hard year, one I thoroughly enjoyed," said Hamilton. "I love this battle but the emotional rollercoaster as it always is within the championship, I was really enjoying first four races where it was close like it kind of was to this weekend.
"Then we saw them [Red Bull Racing] take that step ahead and I would say we've definitely made some mistakes as a team, but just also lost a bit of performance. To see an upgrade and get back in a fight and be relatively close, and to even be able to qualify ahead was really, really amazing.
According to comments from Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin, published on f1.com, the team’s upgrade package involved “the front and rear ‘cake tins’, all the area around the barge boards, floor… it was quite extensive.” Such effort from the team to get every ounce of performance from the W12 did not go unnoticed by Lewis Hamilton.
"I just felt I was inspired by what the team brought. Did I think that we would ever be back in the title fight? I don't know, I prayed and hoped for it. But I thought that it would be a long slog to try and regain any of the points. But we're now closer. He's [Max Verstappen] still quite a few points ahead but the race is on."
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner no doubt hopes for a smooth hassle free race at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.Due to the fact Horner has already revealed that Max Verstappen's collision at the British Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton cost the team $1.8 million, he would probably be very happy to see very little incidents happen in Hungary. In a cost-cap era, Verstappen’s collision was costly in more ways than one. As such, Horner surely hopes his talismanic racer Max Verstappen will extend his lead at the top of the F1 Driver’s standings with ease...but that is easier said than done.
This weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before F1’s Summer Break. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton surely know the kudos which would come from entering the break as the F1 Drivers' Championship leader. But to finish first, first you have to finish and this is why the world of motorsport eagerly awaits the next round of a stunning season.